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What are the Differences Between High-Speed and Low-Speed Dental Handpieces?

Dental handpieces – often referred to as “drills” – are an essential tool in all dental practices. A wide assortment of dental professionals, hygienists, oral health specialists, and lab technicians utilize these specially-designed equipment pieces in order to aid in optimizing the oral health of patients all around the world. It does not matter if it is a standard prophy appointment or a comprehensive surgical treatment is being conducted, dental handpieces are utilized. In this basic guide, we will outline the unique differences between the high-speed dental handpiece and the low-speed dental handpiece.

Dental Hygienist

What is a High-Speed Dental Handpiece?

A high-speed dental handpiece is considered to be a device of precision. It removes tooth tissue in a fast and highly efficient manner. It does not result in heat, pressure increases, or vibrations. These are available in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, and general construction. Operation occurs at 250,000 to 400,000 RPMs. Varying features lend to their distinguishment.

Examples of these features include the type of head attachment, the size of the head, the source of light, the weight of the piece, and the noise of the motor when in operation. These are typically utilized for polishing the teeth and the actual shaping of crowns and fillings.

What is a Low-Speed Dental Handpiece?

Low-speed handpieces are also considered to be precision tools for dental practitioners and specialists. These typically operate at a rate of 5,000 to 40,000 RPMs. Water circulation is not necessary as the low-speed versions do not operate at such a level that they create high levels of heat. In most instances, these are utilized for heavy jobs.

Examples include removing cavities from the mouth and preparing teeth for the addition of crowns, veneers, and/or fillings. These are ideal tools for orthodontic procedures and restorative work.

Due to the low operating speed, these dental handpieces tend to have a longer lifespan than that of the high-speed dental handpieces. This is because of the lesser amount of strain on the mechanical aspects of the device.

Available Dental Handpieces in Today’s Market

There are several different types of dental handpieces available in today’s market. If you are a dental practitioner, it is imperative that you consider various factors pertaining to the services that you offer to determine which dental handpieces are best suited for your business needs. Below is a comprehensive list of high-speed and low-speed dental handpieces that you should research that may prove to be highly beneficial in your practice:

  1. Air-Driven Surgical Handpieces
  2. Dental Laboratory Handpieces
  3. Electric Dental Handpieces
  4. Electric Surgical Handpieces
  5. High-Speed Air-Driven Handpieces
  6. Hygiene Handpieces
  7. Low-Speed Air-Driven Handpieces
  8. Portable Handpiece Systems
Dentist with Happy Patient

How to Find the Best Fit for Your Practice

As mentioned previously, you must first consider the services that you offer in your practice and the tasks that will be performed when shopping for high-speed dental handpieces and low-speed dental handpieces.

Many of the models available today are actually capable of operating in both a high speed and a low speed. You should then consider the weight, the way that the instrument is balanced, the size of the head, and the overall durability of the dental handpiece.

Finally, always take the time to determine the type and amount of maintenance that will need to be performed on the handpieces that you purchase.

Remember, this is an investment into your business and possibly the most important of all investments because of the fact that you will need to use your dental handpieces on a regular basis.

All in the Choice

As with all levels of technology and various tools, your preference between a low-speed dental handpiece and a high-speed dental handpiece is dependent upon your comfort level and your practice. In most instances, practitioners utilize a combination of both types to perform various tasks within their practice. It is true that most have a personal preference, though.

In addition to completing tasks, you must also consider the comfort level of your patients. While a high-speed may get the job done and fast, many patients may find a higher level of comfort if you use a low-speed handpiece.

Let Us Help

We here at Hughes Dental offer a wide assortment of dental handpieces. If you are unsure of which way to go, we are glad to help analyze your unique situation and make recommendations. Additionally, we also offer maintenance and repair services to ensure complete and continual operations in your practice. For more information, contact us today at: 1-800-773-0800

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